The Built Environment and Health team (including Cluster members Lovasi and Rundle) just published a paper in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showing that differences in urban design in New York City (NYC) are associated with how residents utilize their residential neighborhood spaces and are associated with resident’s total weekly physical activity.
Using GPS data and physical activity monitors to characterize the activity of study participants over the course of a week, the researchers found that New Yorkers systematically utilize the most walkable areas of their residential neighborhoods and that differences in urban design predict how much neighborhood space participants utilized. Compared to within and between neighborhood differences in crime and in poverty rates and median household income, variation in urban design factors within residential neighborhoods had a much larger impact on the amount of, and which, neighborhood spaces were utilized.
The team also showed that differences in residential walkability were significantly and strongly associated with differences in total weekly physical activity. Compared to participants living in neighborhoods that scored in the lowest quartile of neighborhood walkability, participants living in neighborhoods that scored in the highest quartile of walkability engaged in 100 more minutes of moderate intensity equivalent physical activity per week.